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Startup Competition Guide

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Accelerators targeting faith-based companies

They include Ocean Accelerator, Tsai CITY’s Accelerator and Praxis Business Accelerator

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
February 19, 2019
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4d45

For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators targeting faith-based companies:

 

"Ocean is an independent business accelerator that is uniquely faith backed, focused on building into the founder. Our mission is to increase God’s presence in the marketplace by building into entrepreneurs. We accelerate entrepreneurs with knowledge, relationships, coaching and seed funding. Ocean is enhanced with a concurrent spiritual journey uniquely designed to develop the founder holistically setting them up for success in their personal life as well as their business."

Investment amount: Each startup receives a $50,000 seed investment in the form of a convertible note from Ocean Capital LLC, our investment arm to our program.

Program benefits: 

  • Learn how to run lean and conserve resources while maximizing your value.
  • Receive guidance and mentoring on how to create a proper canvas for your business.
  • Learn effective methods and strategies for establishing a solid brand.

Mentor makeup: Andrea Wort, Brian Gross, Jesse Broaders, Rodney Swope

Portfolio companies: Feasty, Devoo, WeWork, Lepton, Casamatic

 

"Tsai CITY’s Accelerator, which runs every fall and spring semester, guides students and teams with innovative ideas through the process of building effective organizations, projects, and ventures through workshops, mentorship, and funding. The Accelerator provides an enriching learning opportunity for students with innovative ideas."

Investment amount: $1,000 grant

Program benefits: 

  • Core and elective workshops to help you build out your idea
  • Mentorship through an Innovation Advisor matched to your team, and other mentors in your field and/or with specific expertise to support your work
  • One-on-one sessions with experts on topics such pitching and legal advice
  • Amazon Web Services credits
  • The chance to be part of an awesome group of innovators from around Yale!

Portfolio companies: Y Circular, ReRent, We Develop

 

"We believe that Christian entrepreneurs who are spiritually serious, culturally astute, and in community have a unique ability to build a better society and demonstrate the beauty and goodness of the gospel across all of life. Christian founders typically have a hunch that they are called to a more comprehensively faithful approach to their work of venture and impact creation. However, the aims and practices of such an approach are unclear and seem more like fleeting feelings or reactions than a determined pursuit of a narrow way. The Praxis community seeks to help entrepreneurs operate more fully through a redemptive lens, all while being serious about the growth of their venture."

Investment amount: Not specified 

Program benefits: 

  • Funder Network: Enabled by program mentoring, Finale events, informal gatherings, and other introductions, $55m in investment and philanthropic capital has been placed within our community
  • Mentor Network: We surround entrepreneurs in all our programs with seasoned mentors; these encounters often blossom into long-term, mutually valuable relationships.
  • Story Support: Our team works with Fellows, Venture Lab Entrepreneurs-In-Residence, and others in our community to create pitches, write essays, and capture conversations about redemptive work
  • Talent Network: Academy graduates, Praxis Course participants, Rule of Life affirmers, and others can create profiles that put them on the radar of portfolio ventures looking to hire great people with aligned values
  • Spiritual Formation: We connect our community to providers of trusted resources (for marriage health, counseling, Rule of Life, etc.), spiritual direction, retreats, and more

Mentor makeup: Max Anderson, Bent Burgess, Frank Chen, Donna Harris, Jon Tyson

Portfolio companies: 1Mission, Canopy, CareerLark, Everwash

 

"The Startup Accelerator is a mentorship and entrepreneurial training program designed to help you successfully launch your business in twelve weeks. You’ll learn how to plan, brand and market your business in our full immersive project-based mentorship environment. You will master the eight critical stages to launching your business producing revenue and profitability in the earliest of days."

Investment amount: Not specified 

Program benefits: The Startup Accelerator Program includes eight weeks of once/week fully immersive project based sessions, weekly projects, followed by six months of business coaching. There are three core objectives:

  • Vision & Planning – From laying the vision and infrastructure to scale quickly, to building financial models around a lean business canvas acumen and assumptions.
  • Brand Building – Developing a brand and marketing strategy around a comprehensive value proposition that remedies the exact pain points of future customers.
  • Revenue Funnel – Creating a customer acquisition funnel to connect the dots between digital marketing and business development to grow revenue in a predictable and efficient manner.

Portfolio companies: Not specified 

"Sinapis is an accelerator program for early stage to mid-stage entrepreneurs that provides intensive training at the advanced MBA level in partnership with Acton School of Business in Austin, TX as well as top notch consulting and mentorship support and the opportunity to compete for seed capital. Sinapis is also committed to building Kingdom businesses around the world, so 25% of our curriculum is focused on Kingdom business principles that help our entrepreneurs relate their faith to their business."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • Advanced practical entrepreneurial training at the MBA level that will catapult your business from a dream to a reality and grow it to the next level
  • The above benefit at a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional MBA program without all of the theory that entrepreneurs don’t need and don’t have time for
  • The opportunity to learn how to serve God through your business and become a Kingdom business leader in your community
  • High performing alumni may receive custom advisory, capital raise support, investor matching, access to networks, and ongoing mentorship
  • The opportunity to demonstrate your entrepreneurial prowess and be chosen to be a Sinapis Fast Track Fellow (in participating countries)
  • A certificate of Entrepreneurship from Acton School of Business and Sinapis

Portfolio companies: Not specified

 

"We have designed the MTSE program to serve as an accelerator and incubator for tech-savvy Christian nonprofit startup ministries. The MTSE faculty is made up of Christian social entrepreneurs who have worked with hundreds of Christian nonprofit startup ministries that can provide guidance and feedback on your startup. The whole program is designed around a capstone project, which can be developing your startup."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • High Tech Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits, syllabus). This course will help entrepreneurs to learn principles of social entrepreneurship as they apply to high-tech initiatives. Students can use the final project in this course to develop the business and implementation plan for their startup.
  • Grant and Proposal Writing (3 credits, syllabus). This course will focus on grant and proposal writing covering the research and prospect identification process, foundation grants, government grants and the relational process of grant approvals. Students can use this course to help identify funders and write a proposal for grants and other funding for their startup.
  • History and Case Studies of Technology in the Church (3 credits, syllabus). This course covers entrepreneurial case studies of how technology has been used by Christians in the past to learn lessons to apply to your startup. 
  • Theology of Technology (3 credits, syllabus).  Students could use this course to think through the theological and media ecology implications of their startup or field.
  • Organizational Systems (3 credits, syllabus). This course assists students in selecting the right organizational architecture for their startup and learning principles of organizational systems to make it successful.
  • Theology of Work in the STEM Professions (3 credits, syllabus). This course can assist entrepreneurs in thinking reflectively on their calling, vocation and role of their startup in marketplace ministry.
  • Emerging Media Ministry (3 credits, syllabus). This course covers the latest technologies and opportunities in emerging technologies that can assist entrepreneurs in using the latest technologies in their startup.
  • Independent Study (3 credits, syllabus). This course enables students to work with the faculty to design their own course(s) in specialized topics related to their startup.
  • Technology, Cross-Cultural Ministry, and the Poor (3 credits, syllabus). This course provides a global perspective and specific business strategies that are effective in serving "the base/bottom of the pyramid" or also called, "the majority world," "the two-thirds world," "the other 90%," and "the poor."

Portfolio companies: Not specified

(Image source: ccscf.org)


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